A LAME duck leader, an exhausted ruling party and a bitterly divided nation desperately uncertain about its identity and future.
And I am not talking about the UK. Welcome to Germany.
Make no mistake, Germany is drifting into very dangerous waters – as the anti-migrant riots in Chemnitz showed[/caption]
We are constantly told that Brexit Britain is a divided country, increasingly racist and xenophobic, drifting up history’s creek without a paddle.
But the problems that currently afflict the UK are nothing compared with what is happening in Germany.
But the troubles of Theresa are nothing compared with what German Chancellor Angela Merkel is enduring within her unhappy country and ragbag coalition government.
After 13 years as German Chancellor and the most powerful politician in Europe, Angela Merkel is on the skids due to her open-door immigration policy[/caption]
After 13 years as German Chancellor and the most powerful politician in Europe, Mutti Merkel is on the skids.
Support for her CDU party is dwindling. And support for Merkel within her own party is vanishing.
Last year she faced huge losses in Germany’s election and cobbled together a fragile coalition government. Last month she faced an unprecedented rebellion from her own MPs when they voted down her choice for leader of their parliamentary group. And last week Bild, Germany’s biggest selling newspaper asked: “Can Merkel still be Chancellor?”
Angela Merkel makes Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho look like he has a job for life.
Angela Merkel makes Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho look like he has a job for life.
Many of Germany’s ills — from soaring crime rates to riots in the old East Germany to the rise of the extreme Right — are widely blamed on Merkel.
Riots hit the old East Germany after a Syrian man and an Iraqi man were arrested for stabbing 35-year-old Cuban-German Daniel Hillig to death in Chemnitz[/caption]
Many Germans across the political divide believe that Merkel got it catastrophically wrong when she threw open Germany’s borders in 2015. According to figures released in April by Germany’s Federal Statistics Office, more than 1.6million people have sought asylum in Germany since 2014, mainly from the Middle East and Africa.
Mutti’s decision to enable that scale of immigration will echo through German society long after she is pushing up edelweiss.
For make no mistake, Germany is drifting into very dangerous waters.
We hear a lot about the rise of racism in Brexit Britain.
But we have seen nothing like the riots that hit the old East Germany after a Syrian man and an Iraqi man were arrested for stabbing a 35-year-old Cuban-German to death in Chemnitz.
Theresa May’s troubles are nothing compared with what German Chancellor Angela Merkel is enduring within her unhappy country and ragbag coalition government[/caption]
Britain has seen nothing like the Nazi salutes that are making a comeback in Germany. And Britain has nothing like the rise of Alternative For Germany, a booming right-wing populist party that is well outside the political mainstream.
And here is the crucial difference between the UK and Germany.
The British do not have a tradition of extremism. The Germans do.
Germany is a country – for all its affluence, for all its liberal values, for all its nice, polite, well-educated, hard-working people with their good beer and tasty sausages — that lives in the shadow of the horrors of its past.
And the more time I spend in Germany, the more I believe that Angela Merkel has already built the foundations for a return of the extreme right in Germany.
I don’t know if Merkel’s enabling of the far-right means simply more skinhead thugs flashing Nazi salutes or, God forbid, a very different kind of German government from the past.
We’re forgotten how very lucky we are
But change is coming to Germany, caused by Merkel changing the identity of this country without consulting the German people.
Unlike Germany, the UK has never been a nation where extremism has flourished.
Even now, in the middle of the Brexit chaos, it seems unthinkable that Jeremy Corbyn could actually enter 10 Downing Street and form a rabidly Marxist government that would destroy our economy.
And even now, with Theresa May clinging to the leaky lifebelt of her Chequers plan, it seems unthinkable that our tolerant, welcoming country could descend into the racist xenophobic nation that was forecast by the doom-mongers of Project Fear.
There is something that could push our people to the vicious extremes of the far-left and far-right. And it is a betrayal of Brexit[/caption]
Our country is a stable land with a belief in democracy. We have not been invaded for 1,000 years.
We have never swooned for a dictator. And we have forgotten how very lucky we are in the UK.
But there is something that could push our people to the vicious extremes of the far-left and far-right. And it is a betrayal of Brexit.
Boris Johnson got this correct. If Brexit is betrayed — if the vote of 17.4million people is rendered meaningless — then our democracy will be damaged forever.
If the will of the people means nothing, then you will see a nation that is forced to violent extremes.
That is happening in Germany today. Betray Brexit, and it will happen in the UK tomorrow.
Rainbow a ray of sunshine
Thank you, Geoffrey. Rainbow spread more happiness than you ever knew[/caption]
WHEN I became a young single dad to my four-year-old son in the Eighties, we could always rely on Rainbow to put a smile on our faces.
I will never forget Zippy, Bungle, George and Geoffrey.
Zippy – an anarchic figure who could only be silenced by zipping his mouth shut.
George – a doddery pink hippo. Bungle – a strangely prissy, fussy character who looked as though he would have been happier on Question Time.
And Geoffrey, the only human, who made that adorable madhouse possible.
Geoffrey Hayes, who has died at the age of 76, presented 1,000 episodes of Rainbow between 1974 and 1992.
My son and I were there for a few years in the middle of that long tenure.
Rainbow never failed to bring us some joy and happiness in what sometimes were dark days for both of us.
So thank you, Geoffrey.
Rainbow spread more happiness than you ever knew.
LEADING THE VEY
TORY Esther McVey is from a working-class background and spent two years in care at Barnardo’s when her young parents were struggling to cope.
So how weird to see impressive Esther as a hate figure for the Labour Party.
If Labour truly cared about the working class, Esther McVey would be leading them.
Joshua – he’ll be the last man standing
A warrior and a gentleman, Anthony Joshua is the only champ who never feels the need to trash-talk[/caption]
HEAVYWEIGHT boxing could possibly be on the verge of golden years to rival the Ali-Frazier-Foreman era.
Anthony Joshua holds the IBO, IBF, WBA and WBO titles.
Deontay Wilder holds the WBC belt.
Tyson Fury beat world champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 and, like Joshua and Wilder, is currently unbeaten. Wilder fights Fury in Los Angeles in December. Someone’s O has got to go.
When they have all fought each other, my money is on Joshua being the last man standing. A warrior and a gentleman, AJ is the only one who never feels the need to trash-talk.
I was lucky enough to spend some time with Joshua last week.
He is ferocious in the ring but a decent, charming man in the flesh.
He is already our greatest sporting icon since David Beckham and his star will shine even brighter when he has fought Wilder and Fury.
Superstardom never happened to a nicer guy.
CHANNEL 4 News host Jon Snow complains that it is “unprecedented” for a Prime Minister to refuse to be interviewed on his programme at the Tory conference.
This is the same Jon Snow who chanted “F*** the Tories” when he was getting down with the kids at Glastonbury. Perhaps the Prime Minister is sending the same message to you, Mr Snow.
DOGS BEAT DOLPHINS
SCIENTISTS claim that dogs are not unique in their ability to understand humans.
Goats, pigs, dolphins, seals and sea lions are apparently just as good at following our cues.
But my dog Stan is currently happily dozing at my feet, and when I knock off for lunch Stan will follow me to the kitchen, look at me with adoring eyes for a bit, then loyally follow me back to my work.
Try getting that from a dolphin.
MOST READ IN OPINION
Go have a pint or two kids
Don’t be lonely and save pubs at the same time[/caption]
THE way we have lived for years is changing.
The number of pubs has fallen from 44,680 to 38,935 in just seven years – which means 800 a year are shutting up shop.
At the same time, we learn there is an epidemic of loneliness among the young – the digital Eleanor Rigbys who stay home alone staring at their phones, starved of human contact.
This is new. It was once the old who were lonely – the wrinklies whose kids had grown up and gone, whose partners had fallen off the perch, whose friends had croaked. You expect a bit of loneliness in the twilight of your life. But now the old are loving life, with only 27 per cent of the over-75s saying they feel lonely.
It is the screen-obsessed young who feel isolated, with 40 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds saying they often, or very often, feel lonely.
Perhaps they could try going down the pub.
If they can find one.